Looking to bounce back from a lost 2012-13 season, Andrew Bynum made his first appearance as a Cleveland Cavalier at his introductory press conference.
Per Glenn Moore of Cleveland.com:
New Cavs center Andrew Bynum pic.twitter.com/SH0UeP0FSR— Glenn Moore (@GlennMooreCLE) July 19, 2013
Cavs GM Chris Grant was enthusiastic in his intro for his new center, according to The Plain Dealer's Mary Schmitt Boyer:
#Cavs GM Chris Grant says very excited to add some like Andrew Bynum. "He's very hungry.'' Has moved to Cleveland already— M.S. Boyer/J. Valade (@PDcavsinsider) July 19, 2013
That was the big point of emphasis for Grant: Bynum needed this change of scenery to become the star he once was.
#Cavs Grant: "Andrew's in a different place right now, excited to move forward.''— M.S. Boyer/J. Valade (@PDcavsinsider) July 19, 2013
The Cavs so far have given me every opportunity to succeed. The medical staff here is great. We put together a plan going forward. I pretty much show up and work hard, and I really believe in the doctors here and in the training staff. I'm in a different place because after the surgery I feel a lot better than I did last year.
To get back to the level he once was, Bynum knows that his full focus has to be on practice and conditioning.
Bynum: I'm going to stay in this gym as much as possible #Cavs— M.S. Boyer/J. Valade (@PDcavsinsider) July 19, 2013
Once he's on the floor, the big man recognizes he has an opportunity in Cleveland never previously afforded to him: the chance to play with a star point guard in Kyrie Irving.
Bynum: We have a great young nucleus here. Lots of guys from New Jersey. Kyrie's talent is world-renowned. #Cavs— M.S. Boyer/J. Valade (@PDcavsinsider) July 19, 2013
He's only looking on the bright side of his career. After missing an entire season, Bynum has no more interest in feeling sorry for himself:
As far as my mindset goes, I have no more frustration. I have had a year off, had a year to watch basketball and really learn the game from the outside in, and I see what I need to do, and I'm just anxious. I'm waiting to start. Come Monday, I'll be working. I can't say it any other way. I want to get things going.
Bynum believes that the presence of coach Mike Brown will ease his transition. Contrary to popular belief, the two actually have a strong relationship dating back to their days with the Los Angeles Lakers:
Coach Brown and myself, we definitely have had a great relationship in the past in L.A., contrary to what people believe. I had my best year under him as a coach, most productive year. And he really wants to get the ball inside and he sets it up for me, myself, and the team to be successful. So I'm looking forward to working with him again. Another reason it makes it comfortable to be here is having worked with him already and I know what to expect.
With that comfort comes confidence. For Bynum on this Cavs team, that means he views himself as the missing link both on and off the court.
Bynum: I can bring leadership, experience. We can all rise together. I want to get back to All-Star level, get #Cavs into the playoffs— M.S. Boyer/J. Valade (@PDcavsinsider) July 19, 2013
And just to put this notion to rest: He was just as surprised as anyone that he missed all of 2012-13.
Surprised didn't play last year? Bynum: "Um, yes.'' #Cavs— M.S. Boyer/J. Valade (@PDcavsinsider) July 19, 2013
He'll have some work to do to avoid missing time this season. Though he is not worried about getting down to his playing weight, he does have 25 pounds to shed.
Andrew Bynum says he weighs around 305. Wants to get down to playing weight at 280. #Cavs— Glenn Moore (@GlennMooreCLE) July 19, 2013
Last but not least, Bynum went on record and said what he thought: The Cavaliers have gone through a stretch of futility recently, but it will end this season.
Bynum: This is definitely a playoff team. #Cavs— M.S. Boyer/J. Valade (@PDcavsinsider) July 19, 2013
For now, that's all talk. Bynum and the Cavs will have to prove it this season.
But we do know already that the center is committed to his new team and his new city. It's still months before he'll take the floor, but Cleveland fans have to appreciate Bynum for that.